Q&A: The Weather Company on Using Automation to Capture Adspend

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Q&A: The Weather Company on Using Automation to Capture Adspend

In the first of a three-part series, Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses how to use automation to capture advertising spend from small and medium-sized businesses with Ryan Davis of The Weather Company. The two executives appeared at a program titled “$50B Left Behind: Capturing SMB Spend” during Advertising Week New York.

During Advertising Week in New York, Jay Sears (left) of Rubicon Project; Ryan Davis of The Weather Company; Tim Daugherty of Lonely Planet and Al Maitland (right) of Kijiji appeared at a program titled $50B Left Behind: Capturing SMB Spend.

Your Name:Ryan Davis

Your Company:The Weather Company

Your Title:Vice President, Local Platform

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?

DAVIS: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ESPN and increasingly Facebook.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?

DAVIS: Facebook, iMessages, and emails from a 15-year-old ongoing email chain of college friends.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with our industry?

DAVIS: Business Insider, Crunchbase, Magid Reports, Twitter, Google News Alerts

SEARS: What’s your favorite commercial of all time?

DAVIS: I have a friend who does a perfect impression of the Hump Day Camel (Geico). It makes me laugh every time.

SEARS: With regards to self-service advertising automation, what are The Weather Company’s three biggest company-wide initiatives for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016?


  1. Scaling our local partner reseller initiatives
  2. Growing programmatic direct
  3. Taking our local model international

SEARS: Self-service advertising is used in a variety of customer use cases. Which of the following use cases apply to your current business?

  1. Walk-up business from small and medium size businesses
  2. Small and mid-size agencies
  3. Specialized markets (such as bed and breakfasts for a travel publisher or home appraisal services for a real estate publisher)
  4. Vendor or co-op advertising
  5. International markets
  6. Other: Enabling local resell partners to sell to SMBs

DAVIS: A, B, E and F. I’m particularly focused on enabling hundreds of local sellers around the country to sell the power of The Weather Channel to local businesses. For me, self-service is really about a tool to empower resellers. To reach the true local business that doesn’t have an agency, the guidance and insight provided by these local sellers is a critical layer on top of “self-service.”

SEARS: What are some of The Weather Company’s unique assets and/or advertiser value propositions you are able to leverage using a self-service system?

  1. 1st party data
  2. Hyperlocal targeting
  3. Mobile ad opportunities
  4. Video ad opportunities
  5. Native ad opportunities
  6. Email opportunities
  7. Ad creation (via self-service)
  8. 3rd party ad tags (via self-service for approved buyers)
  9. Selling in local currencies around the world
  10. Accepting credit card payment
  11. Other

DAVIS: By far the most important value proposition to the business I run (our Local Platform) is hyperlocal targeting based on first party data. Millions of consumers around the country happily share their location with The Weather Channel to get the world’s most accurate forecast. With that information, we can enable precise hyperlocal targeting down to the zip code level. And we can layer on weather information to make sure these advertisers run at the right time (e.g, roofers when it’s raining).

SEARS: Tell us the about the self-service advertising operations and capabilities of The Weather Channel.

DAVIS: Our Local Platform enables local and regional businesses across the country to tap the power of The Weather Channel’s location targeting and data-driven weather advertising capabilities. The rapidly growing “self-service” platform allows us to put the power of our advertising into the hands of more than 800 local sellers (and counting) across the country, forming the foundation of a mutually beneficial partnership between The Weather Channel and local broadcasters.

SEARS: If you could go to the airport right now with friends or family and fly anywhere in the world for vacation, who would you take and where would you go?

DAVIS: I’d take my family back to Australia and the south island of New Zealand. Or I’d take my daughter to Barrow, AK. Every morning she asks me the temperature there, as it’s the coldest place she knows to ask about. Because of my job, I’ve got a 6-year-old who is obsessed with the weather.

SEARS: If you could create an endowment to fund any existing non-profit you designated, what lucky non-profit organization would that be?

DAVIS: From a cause perspective, I’d want to help fight endometriosis, which claimed my beloved cousin far too soon. I’m also indebted to Darden Business School at University of Virginia for a free education and would love to pay back the school.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

DAVIS: Asolare, overlooking Cruz Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I could sit on that deck all night eating and drinking with my wife. It might be my favorite place even if the food wasn’t so good.

SEARS: Thanks, Ryan!

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